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Episode 6: Gina Papush + Key Takeaways

Staying healthy has never been more important than right now. Affordable, high-quality healthcare has been the foundation of CIGNA’s mission since its founding. The sheer size and reach of this global brand means that data and analytics is an essential fuel that drives decision-making. Gina Papush is setting CIGNA’s vision for the future when it comes to capturing all of the opportunities hidden within data, both for CIGNA and the entire healthcare industry.

Key Takeaways

Describe your title and role.

I lead the data and analytics function across Cigna enterprise as the Chief Data and Analytics Officer. I spend a good amount of time on our analytics as we continue our journey to drive advancements and increase value orientation. I've also invested a lot of time in building the data piece for us as a company and thinking beyond analytical needs towards the needs across the business to support all of our stakeholders.

Where does the analytics function sit in the organization and who does it report into?

We're a business function, and we are part of the Enterprise Strategy and Solutions organization, where we have data and analytics, other enterprise functions, and operations functions—the team that leads our strategy work.

Is that the right place for the analytics function to report?

We're in a good place because we're well aligned with the various areas that drive strategic product, digital data analytics, and shared services across the enterprise from an operations standpoint. Technology has a whole area of data and analytics engineering that is closely aligned with our objectives and our roadmap, and we work hand-in-hand with our technology partners.

Describe the organizing model you have adopted for analytics.

We are over 1,000 people strong as a data and analytics community. Our global function has close to 700 people. The rest of the folks are in different parts of the organization. We believe for a company of our size and complexity, it's a good structure. We have more of a centrally coordinated organizational model. Some of our teams are directly part of the function and others matrix and connect into the function. If you factor in folks who do data and analytics type of work in technology and other parts of the organization, we're talking about a few thousand people doing that.

What are four or five important qualities and behaviors of analytics leaders?

  1. Translator. We need to translate business needs into how we enable the organization to most effectively create value for the stakeholders, whether those stakeholders are external or internal. The critical piece is how we actually connect the dots and make these value contributions.
  2. Action-oriented. No matter how complex or technical the work might be, it needs to be actionable, and it needs to generate meaningful results.
  3. Team orientation. Data analytics teams are successful when they're comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets from a data analytics perspective. You need to create a team that can enable actionable results and move you forward.
  4. Relationship-building. You've got to build relationships across your business and your stakeholders to make the analytic work real, integrate it into the business processes, and create adoption and value.
  5. Lifetime learner. There is a massive amount of innovation across the technology landscape, so we need to be lifetime learners. We need to be constantly adapting and innovating.

How do you measure performance and success when it comes to analytics?

We have a very pragmatic, value-oriented approach. As one of my team members said this morning, if there's not a number next to it, we should all question why we're doing it. You can't always put a dollar and cents number on the impact of the work, but there are other ways to quantify the impact. We orient everything we do to start and end with the business needs and business impact, and that's the lens we put our work through.

David Cordani, our CEO, talks a lot about improving affordability of our healthcare system and lowering the cost of care. This is one of the overarching metrics for us, just as it is for the rest of the organization. We look at improvements and contributions we make in that space from an affordability standpoint and how we can enable the same or better health outcomes at a lower cost to the end consumer and to our clients. In addition, we look at metrics related to customer experience, and how simple and transparent what we do is to the end consumer and the patients during their healthcare journeys. We also look at what it costs for us to deliver on that care and fulfillment of the benefit plan needs. Finally, we track growth metrics as well.

This has been an unprecedented year. We have been all-hands-on-deck, supporting through data analytics the many aspects of what Cigna is doing related to COVID-19. We have a suite of tools we've put together that supports our employer clients and their return-to-work efforts with our Healthy Ways to Work program. We've put together intelligence that enables us to make internal decisions and also engage in terms of industry decisions. We're proud to be part of this effort.

For more insights from Gina, listen to the full podcast.